By Jumana Ghunaimat
The current feature of Jordan being a country that is safe and stable in a turbulent and roaring ocean did not realize its potential; in terms of improving the economic conditions or help Jordan get out of the stifling crisis, which did not begin with the year of the Arab revolutions, 2011, but was preceded by years, and particularly since the outbreak of the global financial crisis in 2008.
The Arab Spring came with chaos to many countries, many of which now drowning in continued internal conflicts, while Jordan remained almost alone outside this vicious circle. Even so, the economy did not improve.
The reasons for this failure to capitalize on the Jordanian feature are multiple of course; including those internal and external ones.
Internally, the reform of the national economy program was delayed. It even seems that the program is still not on the government agenda. That being said, it seems the government is fully reliant on the International Monetary Fund’s reform program only; anyone who follows the program knows the results are only in numbers, with disastrous social consequences.
Also, the government has not been able to make the needed reforms to make Jordan an attractive investment front.
When it comes to legislation, and despite what the government says about placing a package of legislative reforms, that the private sector has a different opinion. The sector believes that the recent legislation, those relating to investment and tax, specifically, represented regression in terms of encouraging investment, especially to ease the investment environment.
And the fiscal policy of the government, through its declared and undeclared proceedings, led to an additional blow to the local private sector, which made it feel targeted by official decisions that increase the financial burdens steadily on it. All attempts to persuade the government to the contrary did not benefit the sector. This coincided with the government's inability to manage the rest of the investment in major projects.
The banking sector, specifically, was part of those "punished"; the government raised the tax that is usually levied on consumer/client, while the banks, on the other hand, did not seek to diversify their sources of income other than the pockets of borrowers.
As for tourism, it was neglected entirely, to reflect a lack of awareness of its role in achieving the desired development.
Also, the government neglected the idea of supporting major, non-performing projects. I do not think that the government held not even on meeting to end any of those projects. The "Sixth Circle" Towers that distort the shape of Amman still stand as prime example of this, and many others. The government did not make an effort to complete these projects or some of them, as a sign of economic recovery of some of its problems.
These are some of the reasons for failure, and more to come.
This article is an edited translation from the Arabic edition
The second article in this series can be found here: http://ow.ly/LZYPM